JUDAISM –I history, basic terms
Basic terms • Hebrew means “From across”- name given to Abraham and his followers • Israelites: Abraham’s grandson Jacob renamed Israel which means “he who has wrestled with God”. His descendants were called “Israelites” • Jews: named after Jacob’s son Judah (Yahuda), ancient father of tribe of King David’s dynasty • Population of J. • That's a difficult question to answer, because not every country keeps track of such things, and not every Jew chooses to admit such things, particularly in countries where Jews are persecuted. • Most estimates I have seen suggest that there about 14 million Jews in the world. The vast majority of these Jews live in either the United States and Israel; Israel with over 6 million Jews and America with about 5. 5 million. There about 2. 5 million Jews in Europe (a third of them in France), 400, 000 in Latin America and 400, 000 in Canada. In Africa, there are less than 75, 000 Jews, about 90% of whom live in the country of South Africa. There about 125, 000 Jews in Australia and New Zealand combined. There about 40, 000 Jews in Asia (not including Israel), half of them in former Soviet Union countries.
• 13 Principles of Faith- Essence of J. • The closest that anyone has ever come to creating a widely-accepted list of Jewish beliefs is Rambam’s thirteen principles of faith. These principles, which Rambam thought were the minimum requirements of Jewish belief, are: • God exists • God is one and unique • God is incorporeal • God is eternal • Prayer is to be directed to G-d alone and to no other • The words of the prophets are true • Moses’ prophecies are true, and Moses was the greatest of the prophets • The Written Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) and Oral Torah (teachings now contained in the Talmud and other writings) were given to Moses • There will be no other Torah • God knows the thoughts and deeds of men • God will reward the good and punish the wicked • The Messiah will come • The dead will be resurrected
The Nature of God • Covenants with good people • Responds to their needs deliverance • Guides & directs His people • Compassionate • Controls with justice • Source of forgiving, redeeming love • Establishes peace on earth
Next class: Sacred Texts • The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh • Known by Christians as "Old Testament“ • contains the same books as the Christian version but in a different order after the first five • Considered revealed and inspired by God • Interpretation of early history of the Hebrew people, establishment of a nation • Story of God’s interaction with His "Chosen People" (His-Story) • Foundation of Jewish life • Called the Bible • (Biblia) means "little books“ • Actually a library of 39 independent books divided into 3 categories:
The 3 Categories 1. Torah Most important text Divine instruction and guidance or "Written Law” Books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy Covers history from creation through the Exodus and wandering in the desert 613 commandments from God
Continued… 2. Prophets: Words and revelations of the minor and major prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah, Amos, Jonah, etc. 3. Writings: poetic and devotional material written and used during the same time as the Prophets, words and works of the sages Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ruth, Esther, Daniel, etc. • The Talmud • Oral tradition passed to Moses and beyond • Finally written down in the 2 nd century • Contains info on rituals, marriages, agricultural laws, festivals, etc.
Ten Commandments I am the Lord your God You shall have no other gods before me You shall not make for yourself an idol Do not take the name of the Lord in vain Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy Honor your father and mother You shall not kill/murder† You shall not commit adultery You shall not steal†† You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor You shall not covet‡ your neighbor's wife You shall not covet‡ anything that belongs to your neighbor